By Carmen Anita DeLeon
It’s 5 o’clock on a Friday, and I have just over 48 hours to make the most of some well-deserved time off. I could do the usual weekend rounds of the Davis Farmers Market, leisurely bike ride and gatherings with friends over tea. Tired of routine, I decide on something more adventurous. I am thinking animals, new experiences and a chance to stretch my understanding of the world, so I reach for my passport.
Curious minds may wonder just what international destination I plan to conqueror in a mere weekend. I should specify that a car is sufficient for the journey ahead because I am off for a museum exploration just a few hours away with my Explorit Science Center membership card, thanks to the Association of Science and Technology Centers Passport Program.
ASTC is an organization dedicated to increasing public engagement in science, and includes science centers and museums in the United States and abroad. Participating ASTC organizations sell memberships for their locations that are also part of the ASTC Passport Program. This program relies on the 300 ASTC organizations that have reciprocal agreements, granting free or discounted admission to their own members and to the members of reciprocal organizations. This partnership among institutions is an excellent opportunity for patrons to both support their local museums with the benefit of being able to visit others near and far.
So what does this all mean for the science enthusiast? Explorit Science Center, at 3141 Fifth St. in Davis, is once again selling memberships that offer ASTC reciprocity. There is plenty to see and do at Explorit’s new exhibition, “Beyond the Table: A Look at Agriculture and You,” which features hands-on exhibits exploring soil, sustainability and more. This exhibition is open to the public and members every Wednesday from 1 to 5 p.m., Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. An Explorit membership allows you to enjoy free admission to this exhibit.
An Explorit membership is also a great vacation tool that can be used to find ASTC destinations all over the country where you can get free or discounted admission. Whether you’re interested in the science of how the mind works, meeting native animals or wondering what lies beyond our galaxy, science and technology centers have something for everyone.
My Explorit membership has taken me as far as Columbus, Ohio, to COSI, the Center of Science and Industry, where I lifted a car with a giant lever, listened to sounds of the human body and saw a rat play basketball. To find out what adventures you can try with your Explorit membership, search participating science centers by visiting the ASTC website at www.astc.org/members/passlist.htm.
Explorit memberships grant free admission to scheduled public hours, invitations to special “members only” events and a discount on summer camp fees. One-year memberships start at $20 for students and seniors and $50 for families. Memberships are available for purchase in person Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. or online at www.explorit.org/join.
* Saturday at 7 p.m.: Davis Astronomy Club meeting discusses the Mars rover Curiosity at Explorit, 3141 Fifth St.
— Explorit is at 3141 Fifth St. in Davis. For more information, call 530-756-0191 or visit www.explorit.org